PA Cyber
Two students read Bingo numbers at a PA Cyber holiday event.

PA Cyber Offers Tips for Parents to Keep Kids Engaged and Having Fun During Holiday Break

December 19, 2023

School holiday breaks are just around the corner and PA Cyber is offering tips for parents and caregivers to help kids of all ages stay active and engaged during their time away from the classroom.

Parents and children alike tend to hit a lull during the holidays, with the oh-so-familiar echo of “I’m bored” circulating throughout the house and from the backseat of the car during long trips. As the days tick by between the last day of school and the first day back in January, parents are often looking for fun, creative ways to keep their kids entertained and engaged without too much screen time.

“We know that kids have unique learning styles, and each one thrives on different experiences to be successful in school,” said Russ Russell, an assistant principal at PA Cyber. “The same applies outside of the classroom – when it comes to interests and staying engaged, some relish the relaxation time, and others crave constant activity.”

To help combat boredom and bring families together, PA Cyber created a list of unique activities for every age group, including favorites from some of its 70+ clubs and workshops.

For the youngest bunch who just can’t keep still (kindergarten and elementary school):

  • Make paper snowflakes. Provide kids with paper and age-appropriate scissors and let them work on a homemade winter wonderland! Challenge them to make their own designs or follow one of these templates using plain paper. For a unique look, use wrapping paper or different colored construction paper.
  • Ask the kids to design a physical menu for dinner. Using crayons or colored pencils, kids can work together on a family logo, create special names for each course, and assign pricing.
  • Take the family walk to the next level. Have each child draw a map with their favorite route around the neighborhood or a nearby park and let each one guide the group on a different path each day.
  • Create a designated Book Nook and set aside time each day as “reading time.” Instead of toys or electronics, ask friends and family to gift your kids books this year. (Here are some favorites from the Indie Best Seller list.)
  • Make or color a Kinara and learn about Kwanzaa. A Kinara is the seven-branched candleholder used during Kwanzaa, a celebration of African American culture that is observed by all faiths from December 26 to January 1. Make this paper Kinara, or color in a Kinara to learn about the seven principles that each candle represents.
Three students read together in a book nook.
Three siblings read together in a book nook at the Philadelphia Regional Office.

For the middle schooler in their “too-cool-for-you” era:

  • Practice gratitude: write thank you notes for gifts. Encourage kids to make their own stationery out of leftover wrapping paper to write handwritten notes to friends and family (and even to you!)
  • Make a holiday recipe book. Have them print out (or write and illustrate) all of their favorite recipes you make around the holidays and put them in a binder.
  • Learn how to fold napkins to make fun designs. Check out these unique folding shapes and challenge kids to follow the steps ahead of your holiday meals.
  • Learn how to crochet a wreath ornament. Use this pattern guide from PA Cyber’s “Crochet Crazy” club and make your own holiday ornament.
  • Healthy gaming: The popularity of esports is skyrocketing, as colleges and universities build esports teams and offer these student athletes scholarships and scouting opportunities. Start your own neighborhood esports club with these healthy gaming tips from Esports Healthcare and compete tournament-style with friends.
Crocheted wreaths for the holidays
Check out instructions for creating these wreaths from the Crochet Crazy club.

For your high schooler looking for more independence:

  • Tune in to a podcast. Need something for the whole family to listen to during a long car ride? Members of the PA Cyber Podcast Club recommended some of their favorite podcasts: The Laugh Daily Podcast, Unspookable, The Golden Ratio Podcasts, Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me! and Gumbands. Tune into the club’s very own podcast, Shifting Perspectives, to open your mind to a new way of thinking.
  • Challenge your family to Chopped. Select a few items in the kitchen that must be made into a meal (or challenge the family to get creative with the leftovers).
  • Play Bingo! This one is a PA Cyber student and family fan favorite. Students can even play virtually by printing a new bingo card for every player and designating a bingo caller. Set aside prizes from the start and you’ll have the whole family playing.
  • Write New Year’s resolutions. Get creative and write your resolutions on spare pieces of wrapping paper or on an official piece of stationery. Set goals for 2024 and share them with the family. Help hold yourself and each other accountable!
  • Practice gratitude: volunteer at your neighborhood soup kitchen. Locate a soup kitchen near you, and sign up to volunteer and help serve your community.

As the holidays approach and the dust of the chaos begins to settle, parents and kids of all ages will be well-equipped to fill their days and combat the looming threat of boredom.

Click here to learn more about PA Cyber’s clubs and activities.

We know that kids have unique learning styles, and each one thrives on different experiences to be successful in school. The same applies outside of the classroom – when it comes to interests and staying engaged, some relish the relaxation time, and others crave constant activity.

Russ Russell, assistant principal